Support with paying subscriptions

If you're worried about paying subs and unit finances, check out these ideas for help and support

During February and March each year members pay an annual subscription.

This amount pays for the cost of running effective, safe guiding at all levels of the organisation, including Girlguiding HQ, countries and regions, counties, divisions and districts. The total amount payable varies for each member depending on where they live or do their guiding.

In 2022 the Girlguiding HQ subscription will be £21 - an increase of £3.30 per year. Even though this is a small increase, it could feel like a lot for some volunteers - particularly if you’re already worried about unit finances during the pandemic.

Find out more about this increase to subs.

To help you prepare for invoices and subs payments, we’ve pulled together some tips to help you, including where to go for support.

Check you’re only being charged for the girls and volunteers in your unit

There are a few ways to check that your unit is only paying what it needs to. Make sure you:

  • Keep your unit records up to date on GO.
  • If a girl or volunteer leaves, make sure their role is made inactive.
  • If new girls or volunteers join your unit, make sure they’re added to GO.
  • If you have volunteers in your unit who also help at another unit or have roles outside the unit, speak to the them, or your commissioner, to find out what invoice her main role will be on.
  • If you have a young leader who is also a Ranger, her Ranger unit may be able to pay for her – check with them.

Parent letter template

To help you talk to parents, we’ve developed a template message for you. It explains subs payments to parents, and you can send it as a letter or an email.

It’s designed for you to adapt to reflect your unit’s situation. There’s options in there which you can delete or use as needed.

Copy and paste the template text from below.

Download this template (DOC)

Dear parents and carers [insert first name if sending individually],

It’s been brilliant seeing your daughter/ward/child in your care/[name of child] at our meetings. We’re really enjoying meeting the girls face-to-face, watching them learn and have fun as well as sharing their successes.

Subs payments

[Use the following paragraph if you’re charging parents a weekly/termly cost towards the annual subscription]

As you know you currently pay subs weekly/termly [change according to unit]. This covers two separate costs.

Part of the subs is used to run the unit. This includes unit activities, paying hall rent, paying for programme materials (including badges), equipment and to pay for any unit leadership training that we have to attend to ensure unit meetings are run safely.

The other part is used to cover the annual subscription (sometimes known as census) which we pay Girlguiding HQ in February/March. This covers your daughter’s/ward’s membership of Girlguiding (UK) and the guiding region, county, division and district we belong to. The money is used to develop the guiding programme and badges, including insurance and safeguarding plus the costs of running our local area such as the rent on the county camp equipment storage.

[Use the following paragraph if you charge parents yearly for the annual subscription]

As you know you currently pay subs weekly/termly [change according to unit]. This is used to run the unit and includes activities, paying hall rent, paying for programme materials (including badges), equipment and to pay for any unit leadership training that we have to attend to ensure unit meetings are run safely.

In addition, every year you pay the annual subscription (sometimes known as census) which we paid Girlguiding HQ in February/March this year. This covers your daughter’s/ward’s membership of Girlguiding at a national level and the guiding region, county, division and district we belong to. The money is used to develop the guiding programme and badges, cover insurance and safeguarding plus the costs of running our local area, such as the rent on the county camp equipment storage.

Annual subscriptions 2022

We’ve been notified by Girlguiding HQ that their part of the 2022 annual subscription is going to be £21. The increase is to make sure that Girlguiding can continue so that your daughter can carry on having fun, and our unit will carry on in the future.

This is only part of the costs. We still need to budget for the guiding region, county, division and district. This year the annual subscription for each member of our unit was £XX [Add amount]. We are expecting this will increase for 2022. As soon as we know the other amounts, I’ll let you know.

As you have been paying subs, we believe that we have enough money in our unit not to charge you an additional amount to cover the annual subscription. Please can you continue to pay your subs as usual, if you’re able to.

If you’re struggling financially, please let me know so that your daughter/ward doesn’t miss out.

Thank you for everything you’re doing to support our unit.

Apply for a grant

If your unit is in an area of deprivation, you can apply for the UK units in need grant. This can help with buying small items of equipment, resources and uniform, which can free up funds to help with subs. Remember that you can’t use this grant to pay for subs.

Units can also apply for £200 in funding from a unit recovery grant. This grant is for units who have been particularly affected by Covid-19 and can be used to help cover the cost of subscriptions.

Also, keep a lookout for alternative sources of funding and other local grants. There might be opportunities from local councils, other charities, or large businesses like banks and supermarkets. Speak with your commissioner to find out what may be available in your local area.

It might be easier to apply for grants as a district or division rather than individual units because they can take some time to apply to, but you'll need to decide this in advance.

Local grants often have short time scales to apply for them so prepare key information in advance so it’s on hand when grant opportunities arise. Make sure you've got bank statements to demonstrate reduced income and, if it’s a Covid-related grant, a statement about how the pandemic has affected you financially or how it affected your ability to carry out your key purpose.

Check out the advice on applying to grants in our fundraising toolkit.

Fundraising to cover the cost

There are also fundraising platforms such as easyfundraising and JustGiving that can support online fundraising. Check out advice on online fundraising. You could also look at claiming Gift Aid to help your unit.

In November this year Girlguiding is taking part in BBC’s Children in Need again. This is a great opportunity to get your unit involved. Not only will your unit have loads of fun but you’ll also be able to raise money.

50% of the funds raised with Children in Need go to Girlguiding and 50% our funds will be made available as grants for units, which can be used to support you with subscriptions. Further information on the grants will be shared later in the year.

You can also do loads of other things to fundraise, our fundraising ideas and fundraising toolkit has lots of other ideas.

Read our FAQ on fundraising during the pandemic.

Are you a commissioner?

Talk to the volunteers in your area about how they’re going to raise the money for subscriptions. You can use the guiding conversations – annual subscription 2021 to help you. Even though it’s based on last year’s subscriptions process, a lot of it is still relevant.

Handling difficult conversations

We know that most of you are going to have some difficult conversations – don't forget this resource will help you.